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Kailash Satyarthi seeks MoU, counts on Nepal to 'lead' fight against child trafficking

By Our Representative

The Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) has demanded a “strong memorandum of understanding (MoU)” between India and Nepal in order to combat child trafficking across the borders. The matter came up at a virtual Indo-Nepal dialogue hosted by the top child rights organisation floated by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, in which two Nepal-based NGOs, Swatantra Abhiyan and Backward Society Education (BASE), participated.
Satyarthi told the meet, “Children in India and Nepal are suffering from the effects of the pandemic. With rising poverty and unemployment, along with school closures, they are at a higher risk of trafficking, both within borders and across the border.”
He insisted, “Both countries must recognise and prevent this. Next year is the UN Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. It is an opportunity to work together and take urgent and collective action. I urge the government officers, law enforcement and civil society of India and Nepal to join the campaign to end child labour. As I always have, I count on Nepal to lead this fight for children.”
Among those who participated in the dialogue included several stakeholders, including law enforcement officials, civil society organizations, child survivors and research institutions from both the countries. Participants agreed to collectively work towards ironing out the roadblocks in the repatriation and rehabilitation of victims of cross-border trafficking.
Pointing out the MoU may be designed in a manner similar to the one signed between India and Myanmar for the prevention of trafficking in persons, speakers focused on adverse effects of the pandemic on efforts to eliminate cross border trafficking, underlining the need for a portal on traffickers which can be used by law enforcement agencies of both countries.
Participants included Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary, Nepal MP, Lumbini Province, who happens to president of BASE; Indian parliamentarians Krishan Devaryulu Lavu and Ravi Prakash Verma (convenor, Parliamentary forum on Children); and Dr Milan Dharel, executive director, National Child Rights Council, Nepal.
Deliberations focused on grooming and modus operandi of trafficking, rehabilitation and repatriation of victims of trafficking, challenges faced by victims of trafficking, including the inapplicability of Indian laws in Nepal, challenges in prosecution by Indian courts, difficulty in transferring the rehabilitation package to the victims, and inability of government officials to send the victims to shelter homes in Nepal.
Child survivors Arbind and Srijana who were rescued from child labour by BBA and BASE respectively spoke on the occasion and shared their personal accounts.
Arbind Kumar a survivor of child labour, who currently works as an activist with BBA, said, "If we are unable to secure a child's present, then how do we expect children to be the future of this country? There is an urgent need to take stringent action against trafficking. We want Surakshit Bachpan, Surakshit Bharat and Surakshit Nepal."

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